Oman Aviation seeks adviser for multi-billion financing

Oman Aviation Group includes Oman Air, Oman Airports and Oman Aviation Services. (Shutterstock)
Updated 04 February 2019
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Oman Aviation seeks adviser for multi-billion financing

  • The government aviation entity has sent a request for proposals to banks seeking an adviser on a financing program of about $4.94 billion spread across the next few years
  • Oman Aviation Group includes Oman Air, Oman Airports and Oman Aviation Services

DUBAI: Oman Aviation Group, a government entity in charge of investments in the country’s civil aviation sector, is seeking an adviser for debt financing of around $5 billion, two sources familiar with the matter said.
The planned financing, spread across the next few years, would come as Oman – which is less wealthy than its oil-rich Gulf neighbors – increasingly relies on borrowing to offset a widening budget deficit caused by a slump in oil prices.
The government aviation entity, which includes the country’s national carrier Oman Air, has sent a request for proposals to banks seeking an adviser on a financing program of about 1.9 billion Omani rials ($4.94 billion) spread across the next few years, said the sources.
Oman Aviation Group did not respond to a request for comment.
Responses to the request are due by mid-February, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is private.
Formed in February last year, Oman Aviation Group includes Oman Air, Oman Airports and Oman Aviation Services.
A large part of the targeted financing will be used to buy aircraft for Oman Air, one of the sources said.
The state-owned airline wants to carry more passengers to and from Oman, its chief executive told Reuters last year, as it does not compete with the Gulf’s biggest airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, which focus on connecting passengers through their Gulf hubs.
Other Omani government entities such as Oman Oil and Electricity Holding Co, also known as Nama, have become regular borrowers in the bank markets over the past few years.
The government of Oman expects to raise a total of around $6.2 billion in domestic and foreign debt this year, according to its 2019 state budget.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.